Mysticism in the Life of the Church

The Catholic Church would not be the Catholic Church we know and love without authentic mysticism.  Mysticism brings fire and passion to the faith.  I have always said that the Catholic Church has a place for every single personality and temperament. For the more stoic, you’ve got your very intellectual Saints who can challenge and blow your mind like St. Thomas Aquinas, but for the more intuitive personality (the passionate lovers out there), the Church has the mystics: those who are madly in love with the Blessed Trinity, and through prayer, experience the incredibly deep things of God within the heart.  Now this isn’t to say that the people like St. Thomas Aquinas can’t be mystical, or vice versa, but like St. Paul says, that there are varying gifts, but the same Spirit.  This is why our 34 Doctors of the Church all have different doctorates, you could say.  This blog in particular is going to speak about Mysticism in the life of the Church.

St. Paul makes in clear in 1 Corinthians 13, that without love, even the most extravagant faith leads to nothing. This can be seen in the lives of the great Saints of the Church, who came alive through their encounter with God dwelling within them.  St. Iranaeus said that the “Glory of God is man fully alive”, and this only comes about through a deep love for God; in a relationship of love with Him.

As the great Doctor of the Church, and mystic herself, St. Teresa of Jesus (Avila) said, “God, save me from sullen faced Saints”. She knew that there was something more to being a Catholic, a Carmelite, and a human being, than simply understanding the truths of the faith without the fire of love found in being in a deep personal relationship with God.   I think we can all relate with this in one way or another. For those who have been faithful for a while, you may be used to seeing people who put on the pious act, yet there is no joy to be found in them.  Hopefully, you have encountered people who are the opposite of  “sullen”; people who completely exude joy and peace that comes from prayer – in union with the heart of God.

Through our Baptism, we come to understand that not only are we cleansed of original sin, but God in the Person of the Holy Ghost overwhelms us through Baptism and original sin is vanquished never to return similar to an army overtaking over an enemy’s camp,.  We now belong to God as His adopted children through the Sacrament of Baptism.  At that moment, the Spirit of God comes to dwell within us bodily.  We become a living “Temple of the Holy Ghost” as St. Paul tells us.  For the true mystics throughout the history of the Catholic Church, we see that they understood this fundamental reality- that God dwelled within their souls.

I would like to discuss three mystical Saints in particular, and their spiritual impact on the universal Church to help convey my point.

St. Teresa of Jesus

St. Teresa in 16th Century Spain joined the Carmelites when she was 20.  She had grown up with a very harsh and strict father.  When she joined the Carmelites in Avila Spain, she began to live a relatively easy of life in comparison to her upbringing, as the Carmelites of her time had drifted from the original observance.  At the age of 40, she found herself returning to a stricter prayer life, and in doing so, God began to draw her more deeply into mystical union with Him.  She would have visions, levitate, and experience all types of spiritual favors.  She however placed no real focus on these – she focused not on the gift, but the Giver. She would even have her sisters hold her down so she would not levitate.  Everything she focused on was loving God personally, and paying no mind to the gestures of God in her spiritual life, minus being grateful for them.  She remained faithful,  and never wearied in her obedience to Christ, the Church, and her superiors, even when it meant great struggle for her.  A great example of this is that at the advice of her spiritual director at the time, during the visions she received of Christ, she was told by her confessor to give Jesus the equivalent of the middle finger, known as The Fig.  Apologizing the whole time to Jesus, she still did it.  Jesus told her that he appreciated her obedience, and to remain doing it out of that obedience.   St. Teresa truly sought a deep union with God, no matter the cost, but she knew that the only way to it was the obedience to Christ and the Church, and by remaining faithful in prayer.

What was the impact of St. Teresa’s intense prayer?  It was the reform of herself and the Carmelite Order, which then spread to the Church and the world. Despite the haters among her fellow sisters, all the way up to the Papal Nuncio who denounced her work, she remained obedient to the calling she received to reform the Carmelites.  Her spirituality spread throughout Spain and Europe.  Convents opened which began to observe more faithfully the Rule of St. Albert and the reformed Constitutions.  They observed the way of life that the original Carmelites lived .  Women came from everywhere to enter into this life of radical simplicity and prayer.  Her reform is now known as the Discalced Carmelites.

All of this was going on during the Protestant Reformation; that great divorce from the Body of Christ, which St. Teresa speaks about quite often about in her writings. The protestant revolt was a great burden on her heart.  Nevertheless, in the midst of the chaos of the protestant reformation, St. Teresa rose up and fought for the holiness of life we all need.  Her deep life of prayer led to action.  In a time where Christianity was in great upheaval, when men like Martin Luther broke off in disobedience from the Church due to some of the sins of her members, and due to his own personal misunderstanding of the Church’s theology, St. Teresa of Jesus chose to live a life of passionate, intense prayer and service, in obedience to Christ, to Rome, and to her superiors.  This action led to the bringing about of new life within the Church and from this reform, many Saints, mystics, and Doctors of the Church have arisen, including St. John of the Cross, and St. Therese of Lisieux.  The life of St. Teresa of Jesus was spent with much suffering, both physical, emotional, and spiritual. Amidst the hardships that she had to endure,  what gave her the strength to carry on underneath such heavy crosses and betrayals?  It was God Himself dwelling in her soul, of which she had an indissoluble unity with; a passionate deep love between the Lover and the beloved, that gave her the strength to carry on.

St. Margaret Mary Alacoque

St. Margaret Mary Alacoque grew up in France in the late 17th Century. From a young age, she had a deep love for Jesus in the Most Blessed Sacrament.  In her early life, there were signs that she would become a mystic later on in life, including her performing of acts of mortification shortly after her first communion at the age of nine.  After being cured of a five year-long rheumatic fever immediately following making a vow to the Blessed Virgin to join the religious life, she began to have visions of our Blessed Lord.  Later on, Jesus began to  remind her of her secret vow, and at the age of 24, she entered the  Visitation Convent at Paray-le-Monial on 25 May 1671, intending to become a consecrated nun.

After completing her profession in 1672, Jesus again returned to her in visions during prayer, but this time, his messages to her were much different.   On December 27, 1673, Jesus began to reveal to her the desire for His heart to be honoured.  He called her to begin spreading the devotion to His most Sacred Heart.  He taught her about the devotion that was to become known as the Nine Fridays and the Holy Hour, and asked that the feast of the Sacred Heart be established.  Similiar to the lives of other great mystical Saints, many on the outside were skeptical, especially the clergy of her day.  It was not until Claude de La Colombiere (later to also be named a Saint) showed up on the scene that people finally gave credence to her revelations.  It was shortly thereafter that her community finally ended their opposition towards her and her visions.  In 1683, Mother Melin was elected Superior and named Margaret Mary as her assistant. St. Margaret later became Novice Mistress, and later taught the convent to observe the feast of the Sacred Heart privately beginning in 1686. Two years later, a chapel was built at the Paray-le-Monial to honor the Sacred Heart of Jesus.

St. Margaret Mary persevered in her prayer life, and remaining faithful to Christ and the Church, the devotion to the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus exploded across the globe.  One cannot travel anywhere in the Catholic world and find where this devotion is not present in some form.  Go to Mexico, and the Image of Jesus’ Sacred Heart is spray painted on walls and billboards. Statues of the Sacred Heart can be found in almost every Catholic giftshop. The devotion to the sweet and most merciful Heart of Jesus is everywhere.

Where did this all come from?  The devotion to the Sacred Heart blossomed from the time that St. Margaret Mary would take to sit and pray to Christ, especially in the Most Blessed Sacrament.  It was in this deep personal time of mental prayer that God in the person of Jesus Christ, revealed His most awesome and Sacred Heart to her; this heart which was pierced by a sword and poured forth blood and water for the salvation of the world; This heart which is all aflame with love for us.  This was the heart that St. Margaret Mary encountered in prayer. It is this same Sacred heart that we too can come to know and fall in love with if we would only take the risk and pray from the heart also.

St. Catherine of Siena.

St. Catherine of Siena was born in 1347 in Siena Italy. Her father was a cloth dyer.  She was the second oldest of 25 children.  Catherine began to have visions of Christ at a very early age.  She was approximately five or six, when she recounts that she experienced Jesus smiling at her, and upon giving her His blessing, she fell into a spiritual ecstasy.  At the age of 7, she took a personal vow of chastity.  Prayer was central in the life of this young girl.  She joined the third order of Dominicans, known as the Tertiaries in her teens.

In 1366, she experienced what she would later call her “mystical marriage” to Jesus Christ.  She received the Stigmata which are the visible wounds of Jesus Christ given to people by  supernatural grace and she received communion from Christ Himself.  But like the other aforementioned Saints, St. Catherine did not focus on her ” personal spirituality”; getting caught up in what she was experiencing, but instead she focussed on what she felt God was calling her to do, which was to lay down her life for others in service.

She, like St. Teresa of Jesus, was brought before her superiors and was interrogated to verify her authentic orthodoxy in 1374.  She obviously passed with flying colors.  She remained ever faithful to Christ and His Church. This led to her greatest work of all.

In the 1370’s, life was pretty turbulent in the Papal states. Because of the discord within the states, the Pope, Gregory XI, left Rome and took up residence in Avignon in southeast France. This weighed heavily upon the heart of St. Catherine. Like her Blessed Lord, whose heart she was being conformed to through authentic prayer, she desired unity among the faithful.  She knew also that the Pope belonged where his throne resided, which is Rome. So, to start, she began to write in correspondence to the Pope, begging him to make peace with the Papal States and begging for a reform of the clergy. In June 1376, this small nun from Siena, a woman (keep in mind, the times were much less willing to listen to women), went to Avignon and begged the Pope to return to Rome.  Pope Gregory, impressed by her plea, did in fact return to Rome in January of 1377.

After Pope Gregory XI’s death, Pope Urban VI summoned this little nun back to Rome to work in his court.  Her vocation was to convince Cardinal’s and Nobles of the legitimacy of the papacy of Pope Urban VI, as there was still an anti-pope living in Avignon.  She worked tirelessly in the work of unity, fighting tooth and nail the Western Schism which was going on during that time.  The Lord, through prayer, gave little Catherine His paramount desire, “That they may be one…” (john 17) and she lived this out until she died at the young age of 33 in 1380.

Spiritual but not Religious?

In our current culture, we have a lot of people playing the “I’m spiritual but not religious” card. Though I affirm people in seeking spirituality, I believe there is a vast difference between that type of “spirituality”, and what I like to call “authentic spirituality”.  I believe that one of the greatest figures in history that can be seen exemplifying my point is Martin Luther. In the case of Martin Luther, the Augustinian monk who defected from the Catholic Church in the 1500’s because of his disagreements with the practices of some of the wayward practices being performed by catholics at the time, we can see what happens when spirituality becomes overly individualistic.  Individualistic spirituality can quickly go from faith to folly.  We see this played out in his actions.  In comparison to these three aforementioned great Saints and mystics, the very opposite effect occurred from his type of spirituality.  The spirituality of the Saints led them to help bring unity to the Church and draw a great number of souls into deeper communion with the Blessed Trinity- a desire deeply rooted in the heart of God; the God who is One . In the life of Martin Luther, his lack of an authentic spirituality led to the great scattering of the sheep when he led a vast number of souls away from the One True Faith. One spirituality brings true peace, where the other brings discord.

A litmus test for authentic spirituality is this:
How is my relationship with God affecting the way I live?
Do I desire that my life be in conformity to His divine Will above all else?
Do my actions line up with  the desires of Christ?
How do I deal with suffering?
Do I focus too much on the gifts God gives and not the Giver of those good gifts?

The Catechism of the Council of Trent says it best when speaking on the petition in the Lord’s Prayer  Thy Will be Done,  saying:

“But as there is nothing greater, nothing more exalted, as we have already said, than to serve God and live in obedience to His law and Commandments, what more desirable to a Christian than to walk in the ways of the Lord, to think nothing, to undertake nothing, at variance with His will?”

So the question is, what path are we going to take? Are we going to seek the path of union with the Will of God, and accept whatever befalls us OR are we going to embrace our own wills?

In conclusion, I quote Karl Rahner, a “theologian” of the 20th Century who said:

“In the coming age we must all become mystics or be nothing at all.”

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About catholichris

I am an orthodox Roman Catholic twenty-something husband with a passion for spreading the Faith, especially within the social media sphere. I work with Team Orthodoxy (orthodoxcatholicism.com), a Catholic social media team, dedicated to the work of the New Evangelization, in full fidelity to the Holy Father, Pope Francis and the Magisterium of the Roman Catholic Church.

Posted on June 9, 2012, in Apologetics, Bacon, Blessed Virgin Mary, Carmelites, Catholic, Eucharistic Spirituality, Evangelization, faith, Holy Spirit, Love, modesty, mysticism, Orthodoxy, Philosophy, Politics, prayer, Protestantism, Saints, Virtue and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 31 Comments.

  1. diveinscripture

    If you don’t mind I actually think mysticism is a very abstract work to compare the church to. I believe the church need to be out in the plain and open, completely away from the word mysticism that originated from Platonism and Neoplatonism. Other religions/ cultures that referrer to mysticism are:

    Buddhism
    Freemasonry
    Hinduism
    Islam
    Jainism
    Rosicrucianism

    Anyways, just some personal thoughts.

    • anotherepigone

      In terms of philosophy, the word mysticism signifies nothing more than the desire for union with the divine. Of course this concept is applicable to other religions, although it has a specific significance to Christianity.

      As you can see from the examples above (and they are only 3 of many) mysticism has been a vital part of the life of the Church. Striving for union with God is essential to Christian life (it is essentially striving for heaven).

      It seems that the negative connotations of the word, and its use by other religions are not reason enough to abandon such an important element of authentic Catholic spirituality.

    • Richard of the Desert

      Nearly all the religions of the world have there mystics because mysticism is not about religion. It is about union or infusion with the Divine Reality. All Christians are capable of contemplative prayer which is the gateway to contemplative mysticism. I have been practicing it for several years and it has nothing to do with one’s religiosity. If you can truthfully answer the following question then you have begun to understand: “What religion is God?”

    • You are an egoist. You seek yourself in this posting, especially the linking of key words that would otherwise attract attention. Got it? If not, prepare. We live in a time where the causes of sin are taken up by the roots. I say it and I am not alone.

  2. Yes. There are a full range of talented people in the Church. These talents ought to be fully developed (or near so) in one’s life.

  3. A wonderful, insightful article. I wholeheartedly agree! God Bless us all, and help us in our quest to deepen our relationship with Him, and trust Him. Focusing on the Giver and not the Gift is indeed an important part of this journey to a mystical union with God.

  4. In reference to your statement, “So the question is, what path are we going to take? Are we going to seek the path of union with the Will of God, and accept whatever befalls us OR are we going to embrace our own wills?” –

    The path to union with God does take us to the place of union with His will – but according to the saints, it continues past that place to an even deeper and more beautiful union. Teresa points us beyond the union of wills to a union likened to spiritual betrothal (the conforming union), and then beyond that to a union likened to spiritual marriage (the transforming union).

    This deepening sequence of unions leads the human person more and more deeply in intimacy with God, increasingly personal and complete, one might say.

    All that we do as Christians flows out of who we are in Christ – out of the depths of our relationship with Him and in Him. Thus action flows out of prayer, shallow from shallow, deep from deep. Could I recommend my book – The Ordinary Path to Holiness? In that book is an overview of the whole spiritual and interior journey, or pilgrimage, taught by the saints and doctors of the Church – is our path to holiness.

  5. I agree. We all will become mystics – in love with the Trinity, or nothing at all. I believe the writings of the mystics are directly from God. The are like the icing on the cake of my Catholic faith.

  6. Wife, stay at home mom, mystic. Great insight in article. Having been born at the time of Vatican 2, I believe God has been directing humanity in exactly this direction. My siblings as well are very “tuned in” and I think this is no accident– it is a gift, a direction God has been calling for. The Holy Spirit is not stagnant in human history. Our father was very contemplative and our mother, having been born into the Byzantine tradition was deeply spiritual and conversed freely with God and the saints all day long about everything. A very profound insight in my mom about the Resurrection! There was no veil for her, no separation. Not one of us have a split personality about our faith and our culture.God is present; and whether I am at a coffee shop, getting groceries, doing laundry, voting, or at a sports event for my children; I am very aware Who is with me and He teaches me how to be aware of His Presence in the manner He desires. Then I take it to my confessor. God is busy these days. No doubt. He desires us deeply. He knows He is good for us.

  7. Good article. It’s true, true Catholic mysticism always works for unity within the Church. The first 3 mystics listed did just that. The4th, Martin Luther is a great example of a false mystic because the outcome of his leadership was division in the Church. “By their fruits you shall know them”.

    • …And yet, Martin Luther did not desire separation from the Church in the beginning. He addressed real injustices….kind of like people in the last few decades who took hard stands against abuse of power that protected (sinfully) people in ecclesial authority, people who misused their office. Those who stepped up in right ways to stop the abuse were rejected or disbelieved. Then they were estranged and marginalized if not libeled and slandered. Period. But, sadly, so many of them left the Faith; they apostosized instead of remaining crucified in the midst of the, well, ‘faithful.’ Now the pendulum has turned. Most recognize now that there was a lack of discernment and pride when rejecting those who spoke prophetically . . . St. Joan of Arc for example…..and also a failing on the part of those like Martin Luther who did not accept the total crucifixion awaiting them…..Discernment as a gift is misunderstood, unsought, and lacking….and, because of present wounds in the Church, may be difficult to recognize. I therefore call upon Holy Spirit to increase the gift of discernment in especially those in leadership of the Church, first the clerics, then the laypeople. Just remember, division does not result from false mysticism, it results from a lack of humility, people turning away from Truth not matter who presents it, even by a child, even by a sinner, even someone like Nebodchodnezzar (sp?). It is not the messenger but the message. Jesus himself said that he came to bring a sword, division. Our priest today at the sermon encouraged us all to follow in the mission of St. John the Baptist and bring people to Jesus. In doing so, it is not so much truth that divides as a clinging to one’s unhealthy ego….this is what I was taught before becoming Catholic. It really makes sense. I came from a tradition resulting from the apostasy of Martin Luther. I praise our Lord for what has happened in my life. But, I stand for no compromise…. no watering down off the reality that brings us to Jesus. Since the fruits of God’s Will today ultimately mean a confronting of selfishness and a call to much sacrifice in order to both repent of and overcome the compromises of decades of disobedience to Our Lady of the Rosary appearing in Fatima, what shall we do from here? No more talk about God’s Will. Rather let us do it. 4 Rosaries per day. Crazy? Well, Our Lady says the Consecration of Russia to her Immaculate Heart will be late…. How dire shall it become before that and how much suffering for the Holy Father. For your doubters….is this really a time of peace in the world? Ask the water polluted by our sins, ask the air putrified by chemicals, and ask the earth with all the blood of those killed upon it. No, this is not a time of peace, we are in a prelude to greater sorrows, the kind of which only Russians have endured, the kind about which a man named Soloviev wrote.

  8. To be a mystic is to abandon oneself to GOD. To Jesus Christ. To the Holy Spirit that flows from them to all creation. To respond to that perfect love. That is what is meant to be a mystic or nothing at all. If you respond to the love of God you are alive, if you do not you are dead.

  9. We cannot forget that St. Thomas Aquinas, the “rationalist” and the greatest theologian of the Church, had a mystical experience near the end of his life that overshadowed all of his written theology.

    He said that he could no longer write because compared with what had been revealed to him, all that he had written was straw.

    • anotherepigone

      Excellent point. I know this is a struggle for me, as I’m easily tempted to over-rationalize and try to “figure out” God as if He were just another math problem, or focus all my attention on learning the facts about God rather than working on my relationship with Him.

      • Dude, why not read more of St. Thomas Aquinas, especially the “Treatise on Faith.” In this short document is explained how, since, for Christians, the object of both reason and faith is God, we cannot be led astray. The true Creator can neither lie nor be deceived. In that, there is much hope, especially in His revelation. Yes, He revealed Himself as a Father….not a mother. In the mother, we have the Mother of the Redeemer, Mary. But, for God, we have a Father, Abba…. basically, a Daddy. Who’s Your Daddy!

  10. Its really simple. Is this, the kind of life we have now, what God meant for us from the beginning?

  11. Andrew Campbell

    A complement and comment about the author’s possible oversight. The article offers good information, especially about a healthy response to mystical graces for which one should have gratitude. In terms of grace today, how strange that what is mystical and sometimes considered not the norm because of the exceptional presence of our Lord, that such phenomenon are more often feared. This fear is a sign of lack of love. Perhaps the rejection comes from a lack of discernment by those assessing the situation? Maybe out of envy such gifts when present in the lives of others become prematurely written off as “from the Devil” because something supernatural from God is present? Or, they are from the devil and should be ignored. But, what a mistake, perhaps sin against Holy Spirit to attribute to the enemy gifts coming from the True and Holy, Almighty Creator. Be cautious in your judgment, for we are not to refrain from it as Christians, we are to judge rightly…for we will judge angels according to St. Paul in Scripture. Now, back to the article…. I think the author makes one oversight. Namely, when isolating St. Teresa of Avila’s work from that of St. John of the Cross…. He seems much more involved in the mission and charism of St. Teresa than is credited. The salvific work given to this pair is not unlike other saints whose complementarity goes overlooked in today’s Church due to the competition and lack of gender identity, authority between ecclesial roles being confused, and a lack of charity in the spiritual works of mercy (like admonishing sinners and instructing the ignorant). What St. Teresa accomplished was not without the suffering of St. John of the Cross . . . whose better known predecessors include examples like Sts. Benedict and Scholastica, Francis and Claire.

    • Hi Andrew. Thanks for your response. I think you make a valid point about the suspicion that many clergy have towards mystics and mystical experience. I think there that there is a fine line between being unsure and being completely cynical, and many err to the side of extreme cynicism. However, like the story of St. Teresa of Jesus, she remained obedient to her confessor who advised her to give Jesus the “fig” during her mystical visions. This she did with much pain, but Jesus advised her that it was in her obedience to her confessor that he was more greatly honoured. I really believe that confessors have a responsibility to ensure the visions are from a divine origin. Some tactics may be unorthodox, I’ll admit that. I do not think they offer a course in how to discern whether a person is a valid mystic in the seminary, I may be wrong, which Steve or Anthony could answer better than I. All in all, obedience is the path we must take if we wish to become Saints. That’s the bottom line. I hope I communicated that in my blog.

      In regard to the comment about St. John of the Cross, I also appreciate that as well. I did not wish to intend to isolate these Saints from those who played key roles in helping them in their mission. Not jus in Teresa’s life, but in all the rest, there were men and women than assisted them in becoming who they need to be. Regrettably, it would have taken another few pages to discuss St. John’s involvement in the life of St. Teresa of Jesus, which I sadly could not fit in for brevity’s sake. I am novice in the Secular Discalced Carmelite order and would never wish to break apart the work of my “holy mother” as we call her, from our “holy father”. I would say that the work of St. Teresa in the reformation of the order and in the spiritual life of the Church, in comparison to St. John, is a lot easier to grasp because of her writings, especially her “Life” and the “Way of Perfection”. Additionally, my knowledge of Teresa is much more in depth than my knowledge of St. John, which may also have played a factor into this. In my years of formation I have spent time reading St. Teresa’s writings almost exclusively, and so it is easier for me to point to her and say, “Wow, look at how cool she is”. I apologize that my blog seemed lacking. That certainly was not my intent. Perhaps I will get an opportunity in the future to speak on those two powerhouses of love and be able top speak more in depth on that subject.

      Thank you again for reading my blog. It means a lot.

      • Thanks for your reply and explanation of your role and membership among the shoeless. Again, I did not feel from your original posting that you were slighting your Founder and Foundress, I acknowledged it as an oversight. After all, you’re right in the heart of the matter!

        I’m not sure if what I write now is posted to your blog or not. But, I must say I was surprised by your openess to what I submitted. You are one of the first to respond in many years. I know that direct communication can dissuade… I take that risk for the hope of gains to be made–in private and public.

        I completely agree about obedience, which I consider a measure of one’s love for God, in all things but sin. I think that is where, for example, representatives of two communities in the Church have erred. First, the Legionairres of Christ, expecting obedience in all things even if sinful. That was a wrong understanding among the members who followed. Hopefully the Jesuits also will renew their commitment to this matter and their extra vow, and include anew in their spiritual formation St. Ignatius’ Letter on Obedience. That short missive is a gift for the whole Church.

        As for your training, God bless you and protect you. Your citing of Karl Rahner will gain several readers . . . but, seeing your situation, you might appreciate more some of the material composed by his brother, Hugo Rahner. See Homo Ludens for a start.

        Peace to you.

      • Thanks Andrew. To be frank, I’m not really a fan of Rahner, nor is Team Orthodoxy. I just had heard this quote before, and in researching found it was from Rahner. My theological sensibilities remain very much in the traddy side of Catholicism, and so the majority of works that I read are from people like the Saints of the Church. I will definitely look into Homo Ludens and Hugo Rahner though, if you feel they would be of benefit to me.

        As for those other orders, it breaks my heart seeing what potential there is and what happens when the mind turns to self. I visited an order once, whose founder I absolutely love, and whose writings are my favourite in the world, yet when I visited them I found their way of life had divorced from what this Saint was all about. They made everything he did a mockery. Needless to say, I was heartbroken. There needs to be a renewal in these orders. They need people like St. Teresa and St. John to stand up and reform it- God, please send more laborers. I guess this is where we as lay faithful must take the road of mortification, sacrifice, and prayer, and beg God for this. Thank you again for visiting. Please hang out more often with us. I really appreciate your insight.

  12. In ignorance of the fullness of the faith, and in ignorance of Catholic piety and in ignorance the true and full meaning of obedience, as a former non-Catholic, my “personal relationship” with our Lord in those days was much more experientially intimate with Jesus, and the love of Jesus emersed me in ever increasing love, which was truly poured forth out of those around me, with whom I worshipped. Jesus and Sacred Scripture was always the favorite topic for conversation, even for social gatherings fervent prayer was was a spiritual bath and the highlight of each and every occasion. We lived Jesus, spoke of Jesus and “felt” Jesus in unity. As a Catholic in the great Church, founded on Himself and Peter, the priests today appear nearly faithless themselves, and the people are without a Shepherd but for the motions he “celebrates”. The people starve for engagement by the priest and it seems to me reflect the countenance of the priest for good or ill, with people dropping out for lack of meat, love and teaching. I will never leave the Church of Jesus. I love the Church no matter what, but I suffer, and many others do the same as we struggle with heartbreak toward Heaven and the treatment of the Holy Mass, all the comedy and silliness and the seemingly long dead pious practices. The Holy Mass is the last place to find sacred silence, to begin to seek proper recollection, or preparation to receive our Lord in the Eucharist, just as a hospital is so often the last place to expect rest and sleep. How does a “mystic” transcend the inadequacy of these conditions, the distractions, the scandalous lack of dress, the awful family reunion-like atmosphere in the sanctuary, and the priests disregard for his celebration. How a “mystic” in relation with Jesus endures and overcome piercing abominations, I’m sure I don’t know, but would like to.
    priesthood in whole dioceses?

    • I too have often been disturbed by the lack of reverence during the Holy Mass. Our Holy Father Pope Benedict has been promoting renewal of the liturgy in order to help us recapture the sense of the sacred at Mass. I have come to realize that even though many people may not understand what is going on during the Mass, the Lord is still present and He comes among us and feeds us with His sacred body. The Church and many of the mystics have suffered through turmoil both within and without the Church in our long history and she will continue to do so. This is one of the many crosses that our Church has to bear. Like the mystics, we need to turn to God in prayer in order to have the peace of Christ in our souls no matter what we face and the strength and the knowledge to know how to confont these challenges.

      • Thanks for your comment. This notion of mysticism should probably become better defined within the context of Catholicism and revealed truth if it is to be discussed. A person commented elsewhere about Divine Reality as pertaining to mysticism. Yes. But, Judaism and Christianity make unique claims about reality–absolutes for which the rejection of or acceptance of has given greater definition to what it is that the original body of believers has accepted. Without the definition of mysticism in this discussion, the notion becomes very broad, so much as to include everything mysterious to humans but perhaps even natural to angels–fallen or otherwise–and therefore an area into which one ought not to enter, unless repeating the mistake of Eve by entertaining discussion that let her fall. (I remain grateful to my teacher in this faith we call Christianity. The woman is old and still alive).

  13. It seems to me that JPII said it best when he said “Jesus is either Lord of all or not Lord of all”. The spirit of life continues to call us to a deeper life a hidden sanctity known to him alone. If you dwell in me and my words dwell in you ask whatever you will. It is the Spirit that continues to reveal that your word is life Lord lead me unto your way as I walk within your arms of love. Thank you for mother church and her faithfulness, with all of my heart I love you. Speak Lord for thy servant listens….

  14. Fallen in love with Catholicism

    A wonderful piece, with the exception of your quoting Karl Rahner, an undeclared heretic and a hallmark of all that troubles the modern Catholic Church.
    If you want to learn all there is to learn about Catholic mysticism, get a hold of THE THREE AGES OF THE INTERIOR LIFE, (two volumes) by Father Reginald Garrigou-LaGrange, O.P.. Also, meditate upon THE DIALOGUE OF ST CATHERINE OF SIENNA if you want to learn the mind of God. But please, stay clear of the likes of Karl Rahner, unless you would just as soon lose your soul.

    • Oh believe me, I understand Rahner’s approach and I am not a fan, I just heard that quote and needed to source it. Garrigou LaGrange is beyond amazing and I love him. That book or three books, you mentioned are in circulation within my family as well as Mother of the Saviour. He’s beyond awesome. Trust me when I say I stick to orthodox sources in theological matters. To see some books we like as a team, check out our books section in the Recs. God love you.

  15. you’ve been linked to http://spiritdaily.com/ by someone other than me. It seems to have been posted a few days ago.

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